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Nokia and NASA to Build First Ever LTE Network on the Moon

Nokia and NASA have joined forces to deploy the first-ever LTE network on the moon – a major step towards a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface.

The end-to-end LTE network – pioneered by Nokia Bell Labs’ – is expected to be ready in late 2022.

Nokia is partnering with Intuitive Machines for this mission to integrate it’s technology into their lunar lander to deliver it to the lunar surface. The network will self-configure upon deployment and establish the first LTE communications system on the Moon.

The network is expected to provide critical communication capabilities for many different data transmission applications, including vital command and control functions, remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and streaming of high definition video.

“Leveraging our rich and successful history in space technologies, from pioneering satellite communication to discovering the cosmic microwave background radiation produced by the Big Bang, we are now building the first-ever cellular communications network on the Moon,” says Marcus Weldon, CTO at Nokia and Nokia Bell Labs President.

“Reliable, resilient and high-capacity communications networks will be key to supporting sustainable human presence on the lunar surface. By building the first high-performance wireless network solution on the Moon, Nokia Bell Labs is once again planting the flag for pioneering innovation beyond the conventional limits.”

Nokia’s lunar network consists of an LTE Base Station with integrated Evolved Packet Core (EPC) functionalities, LTE User Equipment, RF antennas and high-reliability operations and maintenance (O&M) control software.

The solution has been specially designed to withstand the harsh conditions of the launch as well as the lunar landing and to operate in the extreme conditions of space.

NASA plans to leverage this innovation for its Artemis program, which will establish sustainable operations on the Moon by the end of the decade in preparation for an expedition to Mars.

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